Scorps-Broncos game pits father against son

Danny Secrest has coached his son Ethan for most of Ethan's life, but now the father and son will go up against the other in the Kirtland Central-Farmington baseball game

Karl Schneider
  • Danny Secrest took the head coaching job at KC after spending 19 seasons as an assistant at FHS.
  • Ethan Secrest is the starting first baseman and cleanup hitter for the Scorps.

FARMINGTON — Tuesday's baseball game between Farmington and Kirtland Central will have more meaning than a simple matchup between two long-time rivals.

Ethan Secrest, left, poses for a portrait with his father, Danny, on Friday at Ricketts Park.

When the two teams meet at Ricketts Park, father and son will be pitted against the other and bragging rights within the Secrest household will be up for grabs.

Danny Secrest is in his first season as head coach of the Kirtland Central Broncos. Looking at him from across the diamond will be his son, Ethan, the Scorps' senior first baseman and cleanup hitter.

"It'll be interesting to see how he takes on his son on Tuesday. It'll be cool — for us," Farmington coach Sean Trotter said. "I don't know about for dad and son. I think that'll be tough."

What makes the matchup of father and son even more interesting is the fact that Danny served as an assistant on the Farmington baseball team for the past 19 seasons.

When Danny began thinking about taking the head position at KC, he and Ethan talked about what it would be like going up against each other and whether or not Ethan was interested in transferring to KC so they could be on the same team for one more season.

Farmington's Ethan Secrest connects on a pitch against Gallup on Friday at Ricketts Park.

"I could say it was awkward," Ethan said of those conversations. "He's been coaching for Farmington for longer than I've been alive. We had the conversation almost every night for about a month. He'd ask, 'Hey, how do you think you'd look in purple?' He'd bring up stuff about the color purple."

Ultimately Ethan decided he wanted to close out his career as a Scorp, but admitted that had Danny taken over at KC a year or two earlier he probably would have joined him in purple.

Even though they're on opposing teams, the player-coach dynamic of their relationship is still intact.

Kirtland Central coach Danny Secrest instructs pitcher Bryson Dowdy during a game against Aztec on Saturday at Kirtland Central High School.

Through the first part of the season, Danny was able to catch a lot of Ethan's games because of the way Farmington and KC's schedules were set up. During a game, Danny would sometimes see something in Ethan's swing and later tell him what was wrong. The next day, Ethan would be working to fix the flaw during Farmington's practice.

The player-coach aspect of their relationship may never change. Danny has always pushed Ethan to be the best he could, and Ethan has always accepted his father's guidance as he strove to polish his game. But both said the relationship on the field never spilled over into their home lives too much.

"We've had a great relationship between father and son. And sports-wise we've learned to live with each other," Danny said. "When he was younger I was a little harder on him, but after a while I learned to just be a dad. Of course I was still the coach, but I was more the dad figure."

But now that they're in opposing dugouts, the two must figure out how to play against the other.

After coaching Ethan for years, Danny knows the ins and outs of his son's game. He knows what Ethan is best at, and what his weaknesses are, and leading up to Tuesday's game he said he wasn't sure what approach he would take. Ethan said the same goes for him.

"You know everything about the other. I know what his tendencies are and what he does, and he knows mine," Danny said. "I've wondered what I should do. Do I go after him? Do I walk him?"

Ethan doesn't have any questions about what approach his dad will take.

"He's definitely going to hit my weak spots," he said.

However it breaks down, everyone involved can be sure of a couple things. It will be an interesting matchup between father and son, and neither will forget it.

"It's going to be a very interesting game. He's my dad and I love him a lot," Ethan said. "I think we're going to treat each other like it’s the same old thing. It's just a game, right?"

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.